Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson were the two obvious winners in the Iowa debate yesterday. Mitt wins because he had the best answers, was specific, showed Presidential attributes, and differentiated himself from the rest of the competitors.
Fox News Focus Group: Mitt Wins
Fred won because he had solid answers and had the most memorable lines and moments of the debate. His refusal to raise his hand and not answer the global warming question was priceless. It will probably help him with the voter too.
Fred’s Memorable Moment:
The rest of the candidates were largely forgettable. McCain started out well, but as the debate wore on he seemed annoyed or, perhaps, somber. Every answer showed his age and he talked with a soft and almost reflective manner, that normally wouldn’t bother me, but this is about 4 straight debates he has been like this; it gets old. Additionally, he has become a one-issue candidate. What immigration is to Tancredo, Iraq/Vietnam is to McCain. One issue candidates don’t win. The one positive, he didn’t say “let me give you some straight talk”. I hate that.
With the exception of Huckabee, there is not much to say about any other candidate. Rudy needed a big day to stem his plummeting numbers, but he didn’t. Alan Keyes and Ron Paul were made for each other, how about a Paul/Keyes run on the Libertarian ticket; that would be hilarious.
Huckabee had the most pressure as the new Iowa front runner. He folded like a cheap tent. It wasn’t that he said anything wrong or detrimental, but he wasn’t himself. I really think that he went into intent on not cracking jokes and limiting his witty statements; I think he wanted to come across as Presidential. It didn’t work for him.
What baffled me though, were the “so-called” experts on the MSM (Fox and CNN). Many of them said that Huck won by default because none of the other candidates challenged him and he had no tough questions. They argued that his style today won’t be a negative because most people weren’t watching. I disagree. While most of America wasn’t watching, Iowans were. That is most important. I really think this debate, coupled with the negative news of late will pull Huckabee back to the pack. The one-night stand is over.
So in the unlikely event that I am right about Huck, what happens in Iowa. Well I think two things will occur. First, I think Mitt will get his mojo back and win the state. Huck will finish a close second. However, both Mitt and Huck need to check the rear-view mirror for Fred Thompson. It looks like Iowa is Fred’s Alamo. He is putting all of his effort there and had a successful debate. We saw how fast Huck caught fire, if Huck quickly flames out that support could quickly switch Fred and put him in the race.
However, timing is a tough thing. The Christmas holiday will likely hamper any major movement in the campaigns, leaving just one week to boom. Additionally, what kind of ground game does Fred have in Iowa? Not much of one. Nevertheless, I think this new push will give him a solid 3rd place finish, with Rudy being a distant 4th.
All in all, things are starting to shape up nicely for Mitt. He has received a bump nationally from “the Speech”, had a great debate, and pulled within 5 points of Huck in the latest Iowa poll. A lot have said, and I agree, that if Mitt wins Iowa, he will then win New Hampshire in a landslide, and will then win the nomination. It will be fun to watch, no matter what happens.